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Role Playing and Murder Mysteries

Page history last edited by Cybère 13 years, 1 month ago

Home Pedagogy | Meetings 2011 | 


Role Playing for Language Practice 


What Role Play?

A role play Game (RPG) is an improvised story composed of chains of actions and reactions between players. You decide on your interaction with other players on the spot. 

In RPGs you are NOT an actor on stage playing a prewritten story: your role play is live, unpredictable and living in the moment you create it. All players involved are equally responsible and allowed to drive the development, 

Therefore all participants need to actively be involved, unless they wear a tag as observers (OOC - Out Of Character, see further below for the notion of IC - In-Character and OOC).

If you visit RP sims, you are generally required to wear an OOC tag so players need to know that you are a visitor and you are not interfering with the game. Generally it is a good idea to read the Sim rules or ask for permission to visit the area.

For example

--> if A takes a knife and threatens B, then B should be given the chance to react:

--> B struggles,  negotiates a way out

--> A then reacts to B's reaction - negotiate or not, and so forth.

Role Play games (RPGs) is like a well written novel where a picture forms in your mind as the scene is painted through the descriptions in the story.

One reason it is mainly done in writing is to allow players to get back to part of an action 

if they have missed something or if there are several actions/interactions

happening at the same time.


Unlike Roleplay for language practice, RPG is not "chatting", as chatting is merely a conversation,

That is where emoting comes into play.


What is Emoting?


Emoting is what turns a dialog into a descriptive story full of actions and interactions.

Despite the wealth of visual clues in SL about the location there is a need to make up for the lack of avatar's motion and actions in situ. 

  1.  RP is always in writing (not voiced) because it is hard to determine WHO you are speaking to and in WHAT TONE or inflection. (eyegazing effect+ avatar movements considering the speed of the action)
  2. Avoid using an Emote Hud and Gestures to express emotions as it is time-consuming and invasive during the development of the plot. A specific action calls for a specific response and pre-written text can result in an inappropriate response.
  3. Due to the nature of Virtual Worlds, players are not necessarily looking at the other avatars during the action: even if they could show facial expressions, it would probably not be seen by other players.
  4. Some actions/reactions can only be emoted because you don’t have the poseball or gesture or object in your inventory to display what what is happening to your avatar at the moment of the interaction.
  5. It is too distracting, at time even too invasive and too long to look for a gesture or animation in the inventory.



 Express what you hear smell, see and how..

 When you are reacting to something or someone's action, how do you know about it? for example:

/me sniffs the air, furrows her eyebrows and stutters "I forgot to turn off the flat iron!"

When reading this sentence, I express that: I am at home, there is a smell of burning in the house, I am concerned about an eminent danger, I am 



Your actions need to be imagined ("seen" in writing) by others so use more elaborate verbs than look at, take etc... to give a real flavour to your action, for example : stare, glance, examine, grab, hands over, etc...

Express your state of mind (not feelings) naturally in the flow of the action, what you would do in the situation you are in.

/me rummages in her pocket with a MALICIOUS grin on her face,  pulls out an apple and throws it straight at you. 

In this situation what do you do? sway, catch or get knocked over by the apple?


 Go to this page for an example of a session


To assist students in using proper language for Role Playing and be creative, it is recommended to do a prior activity preparing them for the session(s). You can either provide a pre-written glossary or get the students to build their own with vocabulary you expect them to use during the game as a preparation to the activity.


This page is an example of the vocabulary  that might be used during RP to build on nuances of perception verbs and description. It is however not exhaustive and only remains a point of reference for you to set appropriate objectives in your context.   Please feel free to add your language or verbs/adjectives/adverbs/expressions that you might consider useful for emoting looking at the example of this transcript.



Meeting 3rd June2011: Emoting for creative writing + make sure you read the transcript.



Murder Mysteries


What is a Murder Party?


What to look for:

* Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Ws


  • Who is it about?
  • What happened (what's the story)?
  • Where did it take place?
  • When did it take place?
  • Why did it happen?
  • How did it happen?



Find information on the lesson learnt page


The Ransom find our inaugurative mystery! (plot on the right-->)


Links to resources

Thanks to Annette Lionheart:


SL Treasure Hunts for language practice


What are SL hunts?


Treasure hunts (aka scavenger hunts) are games in which players search for hidden objects by following a trail of clues.




A great example of an on-line treasure hunt:  Garfield's Scary Scavenger Hunt (not SL based)

http://resasfreebiecorner.wordpress.com/hunts-in-second-life/ here is the blog of a dedicated SL treasure hunter! 



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